Five must-read money books to help you succeed post-pandemic

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We’re well into week six of lockdown, which means many of us are midway through our second month of working from our various home offices.

We have another fortnight of restrictions ahead — a frustrating prospect, if not a daunting one. But one thing that has kept many people feeling productive and positive has been to set achievable “lockdown resolutions”.

Ranging from new hobbies like sewing or photography, to exercising more, learning new languages or taking career qualifications — lockdown resolutions have offered a framework around which to build healthy coping strategies (or simply ways to be less bored). Reading has been a big part of that too — with 31% of people reading more since lockdown began, and Waterstones reporting a 400% increase in online book sales.

With that in mind, for those of you who made a resolution to understand your money better, or who just want a good book to read, here are a few suggestions from us at ikigai.

These are all books that will give you a new perspective on your finances — so when lockdown lifts, you feel ready to seize the day.

Alex Holder — Open Up: Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life

Alex Holder — Open Up: Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life
Alex Holder — Open Up: Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life

Money is emotional — we all know that. What we don’t always know is exactly why it’s so emotional and why we respond the way we do to our various financial ups and downs. This is what Alex Holder identifies and explores in her debut book, Open Up: we need to talk about money.

Open Up explains why talking about money really is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself — whether that’s talking about your salary or your rent or the real cost of all those hen parties. You’ll come away with plenty of questions to ask yourself about your finance, and plenty of answers about how to start helping yourself and building a better relationship with your money.

Engaging, funny, and decidedly not “self-helpy” (despite being endlessly helpful), Alex’s book is candid and wonderfully written. Open Up is available in print, on kindle and as an audiobook. I personally adore my hard copy of the book, not only because it’s very pretty in white and gold, but because there are handy lists that I refer back to time and again, and plenty of pages worth bookmarking.

Cait Flanders — The Year Of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

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I mentioned this book in our article about mindful money because there isn’t a better book out there that explores what happens when we hit the pause button on our spending.

When Cait Flanders realised that nothing she was doing or buying was making her happy — only keeping her from meeting her goals — she decided to set herself a challenge: she would not shop for an entire year. The Year of Less chronicles the impact that this decision has upon her bank balance, her relationships, her values, habits, and her sense of self.

At only 200 pages, The Year of Less is a short and snappy read, but vulnerable and thought-provoking too. Exploring shopping culture and consumerism, it is perfect for people who are struggling to decide the difference between what they want and what they really need. And despite not being a ‘how to’, it certainly demonstrates a framework for how to figure out what really matters to you when it comes to your money and your life.

The Year of Less is available in print, on kindle and as an audiobook.

Laura Whateley — Money: A User’s Guide

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This Sunday Times bestseller is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding their money better. From the very first chapter you’ll find valuable and genuinely helpful financial advice.

As a former journalist for the money desks of newspapers like The Times and the Guardian, Laura really knows her stuff. She explains money in such a clear and concise manner, never patronising and never over-complicating. It’s a proper primer on all things money — taxes, pensions, investments, mortgages — and one you can dip in and out of when you have a specific question. My copy is highly annotated because it’s so easy to leave a note in the margins with insights from your own financial life.

Ideal for professionals who want a few practical lessons and useful reminders on all things financial, Money: A User’s Guide is available in paperback, kindle and audiobook.

Emilie Bellet — You’re not broke, you’re pre-rich: How to streamline your finances, stay in control of your bank balance and have more £££

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The Financial Times described You’re not broke, you’re pre-rich as a wise investment — and with good reason.

Emilie Bellet’s book is a money manifesto designed for the millennial generation, emphasising that it’s possible to do all those things that society says you can’t — from owning your own home to paying off your debt and building your pension.

With a focus on empowering women financially, Emilie’s style is informative and easy to read. It is much more of a handbook than the other books on this list — focusing more on debunking jargon and offering actionable tips, but if you want a no-nonsense read with practical advice then this one is for you.

You’re not broke, you’re pre-rich is available in paperback and on kindle.

Alice Tapper — Go Fund Yourself: What Money Means in the 21st Century, How to be Good at it and Live Your Best Life

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Ready to get financially inspired? After becoming frustrated with the lack of financial education in schools, Alice Tapper has taken it upon herself to make money less dull. And she’s succeeded.

An economist by trade, Alice’s book is not about cutting back or ‘tips and tricks’ to save pennies — which can so often feel patronising. Nor is it a book promising “get rich quick” ideas — which are so often complete rot. Instead, she’s written a fresh and fascinating book that looks at the bigger picture when it comes to money, taking us from ways to learn about it, to ways to earn it and invest it.

The book focuses on the idea of financial freedom — but Alice doesn’t pretend that there’s a single route or method to achieve this. Instead, the advice is all about deciding what financial freedom means to each of us as individuals, whilst also explaining ways for us to understand our finances and adapt more effectively to social and economic shifts — an essential skill in these turbulent times.

Go Fund Yourself is available in print, on kindle and as an audiobook (which I personally have found exceptionally interesting to listen to whilst I write). Alice also runs an excellent Instagram full of handy financial insights that reflect current affairs and markets.

Authors: Harriet Allner and ikigai

Harriet Allner is a writer, blogger and fintech specialist. She cares about stories that matter and is passionate about promoting conversation around money positivity and financial feminism.

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